ZSE to automate by year-end as bourse engages consultant

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has stepped up its efforts to automate as the local bourse plans to shift from the current paper-based trading platform by year end, the exchange has said.

Report by Bernard Mpofu

The ZSE announced that it was currently recruiting an automated trading system consultant tasked with improving efficiency of the exchange as well as catch up with regional peers.

The exchange, according to terms and conditions of the consultant, embarked on an automated trading system (ATS) project for implementation by December 31, 2013.

An ATS is a computer trading program that automatically submits trades to an exchange. Automated trading systems are created by converting a trading system’s rules into code that computers can understand.

The computer then runs those rules through trading software, which looks for trades that adhere to prescribed rules. The trades are then automatically placed with the stockbroker.

ZSE currently utilises a call-over system to execute trades. Critics say paper-based operations of the exchange were fraught with inherent risks.

Clearance and settlement is done between stockbrokers with payment against delivery of physical scrip on a T+7 calendar days basis.

The ATS project, according to the ZSE, involves identification and acquisition of suitable software, hardware and networking infrastructure to deliver a solution based on the requirements defined by the exchange. The consultant will have a six-month contract.

“ZSE announces that it wishes to recruit a consultant for its Automated Trading System Project,” the exchange said.

Expressions of interest, the exchange said, were being sought from suitably qualified persons with appropriate experience, inter alia, membership of a professional body; previous consultancy in financial services sector in implementation of ICT systems; minimum of three active reference sites; and proven project management skills.

The current recruitment exercise comes at a time when government last month  gazetted a new statutory instrument giving legal effect to the setting-up of the country’s first ever Central Securities Depository (CSD) following delays that have slowed down changes as capital markets embark on far-reaching reforms.

A CSD is an organisation holding securities either in certificated or  uncertificated (dematerialised) form to enable book entry transfer of  securities.

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